Richard G. Petty, MD

Master-Gardener of the Soul

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“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.”          

–James Allen (English Mystic and Author, 1864-1912)

“As a Man Thinketh” (James Allen)

Manifesting Abundance

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“Where man sees lack, lack manifests. Where man sees abundance, abundance is supplied.”         

–Darwin Gross (American Spiritual Teacher, Musician and, from 1971-1983, Leader of Eckankar, 1928-)   

Dream, Focus, Act and Simplify


“I learned this, at least by my experiment: that if you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

You will put some things behind, you will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within you; or the old laws will be expanded, and interpreted in your favor in a more liberal sense, and you will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty, nor weakness.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is what they should be. Now put foundations under them.”  

–Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist and Philosopher, 1817-1862)   

Vision and Method

“The Magic Of Believing” (Claude M. Bristol)

“The person with a fixed goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it, through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of physical effort. Just pursue the thought unceasingly. Step by step you will achieve realization, for all your faculties and powers become directed to that end.”  

–Claude M. Bristol (American Writer, 1891-1951)   

Meditating On Good Thoughts


“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”

–Confucius (Chinese Philosopher, 551-479 B.C.)   

All Life Is a Manifestation of the Spirit


“All life is a manifestation of the spirit, the manifestation of love. And the Art of Peace is the purest form of that principle. A warrior is charged with bringing a halt to all contention and strife. Universal love functions in many forms; each manifestation should be allowed free expression. The Art of Peace is true democracy.”  

–Morihei Ueshiba (Japanese Martial Artist and Founder of Aikido, 1883-1969)

“The Art of Peace” (Morihei Ueshiba)  

Miracles and Expectations

“I believe there is no source of deception in the investigation of nature which can compare with a fixed belief that certain kinds of phenomena are impossible.”
–William James (American Psychologist and Philosopher, 1842-1910)

There was a very interesting article published in the British Medical Journal in 1983. My old friend Peter Fenwick wrote a very interesting paper on prayer that cited this story.

Christian missionaries had gone to Ethiopia, but were required to leave by the Government in power at the time. They left behind some Gospels. When they returned some years later, they found not only a flourishing church, but also a community of believers amongst whom miracles like those mentioned in the New Testament happened every day. There had been no missionaries to teach them that such things were not supposed to be taken literally. They created miracles because they had never been told that they could not. There were no scientifically trained missionaries to tell them that miracles only occurred in the first century of the Church’s existence, or in special circumstances if a highly trained priest is present.

This sort of case – and there are many others – gets straight to the heart of the role of belief and expectation in our lives. Is there one fixed external reality, and we are no more than puppets dancing on cosmic strings? I’ve heard many people say that. Just recently the Editor of Psychology Today said that he felt that everything in human behavior could be reduced to genes, learning and reflexes. I must respectfully disagree. Free will is not an illusion, and our hopes and expectations have a massive impact on the structure of our lives and our reactions to the events that will come our way.

How many things are you failing to achieve because of fears or negative expectations?

Some people might describe the Ethiopians as unsophisticated. I would not: these good people can teach us something that many of us have forgotten.

Clean up and focus your expectations, ensure the purity of your intentions and see what happens in your life.

I’ve put just a few quotations below. I selected them for this reason: as you look at them, see how many are directly relevant to your life.

Do any of them give you ideas about managing your own life? If not, you may like to have a look at/listen to Healing, Meaning and Purpose or the articles and podcasts that I shall be posting this month.

“Men are probably nearer the central truth in their superstitions than in their science.”
–Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist and Philosopher, 1817-1862)

“Perhaps the only limits to the human mind are those we believe in.”
–Willis Harman (American Scientist and Late President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences; 1920-1997)

“It is one of the most common of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.”
C.W. Leadbeater (English Clergyman and Theosophical Writer, 1854-1934)

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
–Arthur C. Clarke (English-born Writer, 1917-)

“Only if you reach the boundary will the boundary recede before you. And if you don’t, if you confine your efforts, the boundary will shrink to accommodate itself to your efforts. And you can only expand your capacities by working to the very limit.”
–Hugh Nibley (American Scholar in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-2005)

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you 
came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
–James Baldwin (African-American Writer, 1924-1987)

“Give yourself the freedom to explore the possibility of life without limits. Goals are dreams with deadlines, a means to an end but not the ultimate purpose of life.”
–Glynis Nunn (Australian Heptathlete, 1960-)

“Imposing limitations on yourself is cowardly because it protects you from having to try, and perhaps failing.”
–Vladimir Zworykin (Russian-born American Physicist and, in 1923, the inventor of the “Iconoscope:” the first television camera, 1889-1982)

“Divine wisdom is inexhaustible; the limitation is only in the receptive faculty of the form.”
–Henricus Madathanus (German Philosopher, Alchemist and Co-Founder of the Fraternity Rosae Crucis, 1575-1639)

Manifesting and Prayer

“All will happen as you want it, provided you really want it.”
–Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (Indian Spiritual Teacher and Exponent of Jnana Yoga and Advaita Doctrine, 1897-1981)

“The spirit is life. The mind is the builder. The physical realm is the result.”
–Edgar Cayce (American Healer, Mystic and Psychic, 1877-1945)

In Healing, Meaning and Purpose, we discuss manifesting: the art of flowing with the Universe to achieve your perfect outcomes. We talked about the limiting beliefs that can prevent us from fulfilling our potential. Do not try and put limits on the help that may come to you. Too often people tell me that they are not seeing any meaningful coincidences or that their prayers are not being answered. The problem is usually that they have decided on the form in which the sign will appear, or of the way in which help will arrive, instead of having an open mind, and remembering that “God works in mysterious ways.”

I have the privilege of delivering hundred of speeches, lectures and workshops each year, but earlier today I was in the unusual position of being in the audience for a really great speech. I was reminded of an old story that appears in Chapter 11 of my forthcoming book Sacred Cycles:

A priest is stranded in his house as the waters of a nearby river are rising rapidly. He can still see out of his first floor window when a rescue boat rows up to his house.

“Get in says the rescuer.”

“No” says the priest, “I’m praying and waiting for God to save me.”

As the floodwaters rise, he moves to the second floor, when he hears     the sound of a motorboat containing two rescuers.

“Get in, they say, it is getting worse.”                                                                           
“No” says the priest, “I’m praying and waiting for God to save me.”

Finally the waters have driven him onto the roof of his house when he sees a helicopter hovering above him.

“Let us winch you to safety,” says the winch man.

“No” says the priest, “I’m praying and waiting for God to save me.”

Finally the helicopter is forced to leave and sadly the priest perishes.

When he arrives in the next world he is angry with God, and says,

“Why didn’t you save me? I prayed with all my might!”

To which he hears this response: “Three times I tried to save you: I sent a rowboat, a motorboat and a helicopter, and you rejected all the help that I sent to you.”

Please do not ever make that mistake. I have had more than one person feel guilty about seeing a physician and taking medications, feeling that they should have been healed by faith alone. Then they have realized that their prayers may indeed have been answered by the provision of medications and a person with the skills to use them.

Before asking for Divine assistance, ask yourself what you can do to help yourself and others: rather than trying to command God and the Universe to do your bidding, try reporting for duty!

“God manifests himself in what is hidden.”
–Thomas Merton (French-born American Trappist Monk and Writer, 1915-1968)

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